Colleagues pay tributes to Sir Ben Gill following his death at age of 64

Tributes have been paid to Sir Ben Gill CBE, the former NFU president and latterly chairman of English Apples & Pears (EAP) since 2007, who died on 8 May aged 64 after a battle with cancer.

EAP chief executive Adrian Barlow said: "He had achieved worldwide recognition by the time he joined EAP. He gained a reputation as an agricultural leader of enormous capability during the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises in the early 2000's.

"He oversaw a period of considerable revitalisation of the UK top-fruit industry. He was a commanding presence, with terrific knowledge across the whole of agriculture, and could open doors to people we couldn't have otherwise contacted. We are enormously sad at his loss."

Gill was chair and keynote speaker at the Horticultural Development Company's HDC in Focus levy payers' conference in December. HDC chairman Neil Bragg said: "Ben was very incisive. Although an agriculturist, he was an excellent supporter of the whole industry."

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